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Enforcement Of Compensation Orders

Volume 113: debated on Tuesday 31 March 1987

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(1) The following subsections shall be substituted for section 36(1) and (2) of the Powers of Criminal Courts Act 1973 (suspension of compensation orders pending appeal)—

"(1) A person shall not be entitled to receive any payment due to him under a compensation order—
  • (a) In any case until the expiry of the period prescribed by law for the giving of notice of appeal against the decision of the court by which the order has been made; and
  • (b) where notice of appeal is given within the period so prescribed, until the determination of the appeal.
  • (2) Where a compensation order has been made against any person in respect of an offence of which he has been convicted, the order shall cease to have effect if he successfully appeals against this conviction of the offence."

    (2) The following subsection shall be inserted after subsection (3) of that section—

    "(4) Rules under section 144 of the Magistrates' Courts Act 1980 may make provision regarding the way in which the magistrates' court for the time being having functions in relation to the enforcement of a compensation order is to deal with money paid in satisfaction of the order in the event that the order subsequently ceases to have effect.".'.—[Mr. Douglas Hogg.]

    Brought up and read the First time.

    With this it will be convenient to take Government amendments Nos. 110 to 112 and Government amendment No. 114.

    The purpose of new clause 27 and the amendments grouped with it is to change the procedure governing the enforcement of compensation orders. At present, the operation of compensation orders is suspended until the time during which an appeal may be made has elapsed or until any appeal which is made has been resolved. New clause 27 provides that, although payment may not be made to the victim during that period, enforcement against the offender is not specifically prohibited. We envisage that, as is the case with fines now, enforcement would not normally be pursued while the question of an appeal remained, but the unqualified total suspension pending appeal, which is unique to compensation orders, allows the defendant to avoid payment for a long time, and that is undesirable where large sums may be involved. It has been suggested that in some cases the system has been abused.

    The enforcing court would hold any money collected from the offender until an appeal, or the possibility of one, had been resolved, or had elapsed. It will then be paid over to the victim, if the appeal was unsuccessful, or to the offender, if the appeal was successful.

    The amendments which are grouped with the new clause are consequential and perhaps require no further amplification.

    Question put and agreed to.

    Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.